Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Catholic Grace


"Grace does not force man's free will, but respects it, and leaves man free to act with it or not. Grace, therefore, does not destroy our freewill, but only helps it, and our own working with grace is required. "God who has created thee without thee, will not save thee without thee " says St. Augustine: and in Holy Scripture it is repeatedly stated that God will render to every one according to his works. A renovation which renders a soul renewed, pure, bright, amiable and endearing to God.

We stand in continual need of actual grace to perform good acts, both before and after being justified. "Without me you can do nothing," says our Saviour, and St. Paul declares that without God's grace we are incapable of even a good thought. The good acts, however, done by the help of grace without justification are not, strictly speaking, meritorious, but serve to smooth the way to justification, to move God, though merely through His mercy and condescension, to help us and render us better disposed for the same. But if, with the assistance of actual grace, good works are done by a person who is in a state of justifying grace, then they are acceptable to God, and merit an increase of grace on earth and an increase of glory in Heaven.

…All our merits, however, without any exception, are grounded on the merits of Jesus Christ, and on His grace, without which no one can move a step towards heaven.

The merit of a good action performed in a state of grace, as being in consequence of justification, and in union with our Lord, is truly our own merit, because that good action is really performed by us, by our co-operation with God's grace; but it is also, and principally, a merit of our Lord, as a grape is the fruit of the branch, and yet also and principally the fruit of the parent vine without which, or if not connected with which, the branch could not produce any fruit, or indeed have become a branch at all. Our merit, therefore, does not take away from Christ's merits, for without Him we can do nothing. We merit through Christ, Christ makes us merit; or still more properly, Christ merits in us, and therefore all the glory is His…

JESUS CHRIST died for all mankind; He truly died that "He might taste death for all." (Hebrews ii. 9.) Yet we know that all men will not be saved, but only those who do His will; for we read in St. Paul : "And being consummated, He became to all that obey Him the cause of eternal salvation." (Hebrews v. 9.) And so, notwithstanding Christ's redemption, it is stated in the gospel that some "shall go into everlasting punishment." (St. Matt. xxv. 46.) St. Paul did not say that God will save all men, but, "Who will have all men to be saved" (1 Timothy ii. 4), implying thereby that for salvation, man's will and co-operation is required to fulfill the conditions, and use the means appointed by God Himself for the purpose.

Only those who "have washed their robes and have made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Apocalypse [Rev.] vii. 14), that is, who have the merits of Christ applied to them, and who persevere to the end in doing what is commanded, will be saved.

The direct means instituted by Christ Himself for applying His infinite merits to the souls of men are the holy sacraments, which are so many channels instituted by Jesus Christ to convey to men His grace purchased for us at the price of His most precious blood: "You shall draw waters with joy out of the Saviour's fountains." (Isaias xii. 3.)"

-The Glories of the Catholic Church (1895)
Imprimatur: Michael Augustine, Archbishop of NY

11 comments:

Tal said...

"If God treated you according to your merits He would drive you out of His sight and destroy you when you presented yourself before Him. Therefore, when He gives you grace, you must not think that He gives if to you in answer to your prayers, but rather than He gives it to His son Jesus Christ by virtue of His prayers and merits." - Jean Eudes

EgoMakarios said...

I will never understand why Prots choose this point to disagree with Rome. The falsity of Roman Catholicism does not consist in realizing that God gives conditional promises, but in their idolatry and in their manmade rules and in their false mode and wrong recipients for baptism. God clearly does give conditional promises. God attaches conditions to his grace via promises.

"Dip in Jordan 7 times and you will be healed." Healing is grace. Dipping is a condition. The whole thing together is a promise. Easy to understand, isn't it?

"But it doesn't work like that with salvation" someone will object. Really?

"Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ every one of you to receive the remission of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, for the promise is to your, to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call." Remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit are grace. Repentance and baptism are conditions. All of it together is a promise. Again, how much simpler could you get? The Reformers went overboard in opposition to Rome and invented a very false doctrine that denies the most obvious thing that the Scriptures teach, i.e. that God gives conditional promises.

Carrie said...

EM,

Do you agree with Romes sacramental system?

EgoMakarios said...

"Do you agree with Romes sacramental system?"

No. Rome's sacramental system views sacraments as magic that works with or without faith. If the act is done, according to them, the grace is conferred. But biblically a sacrament is a condition of God's promise. So, when God promises that he will provide a certain grace synchronously with a certain act, he does so. As a result of their error, Rome baptizes faithless infants where Scripture says "buried with him in baptism, in which you are raised with him, by faith..." Col 2:12. You solafideans can't deny it says that a believer who is baptized is therein, in baptism, raised with Christ, as this verse plainly states it, and yet the Catholics can't deny that it includes faith because again that is plainly stated. Consequently, neither of you follows the Scripture. Again, they make communion into the literal body of Christ by ignoring that the cup is the New Testament and therefore however the cup is the New Testament, in the same way is the bread his body, that being by representation. Plus they invent sacraments that are non-existent in the New Testament, like confirmation which is based on a misunderstanding of another sacrament.

Carrie said...

EM,

The reason I asked is because part of the issues with RC grace is their sacramental economy. So while you said "I will never understand why Prots choose this point to disagree with Rome" you seem to in fact disagree with Rome also (notice the end of my post mentions the sacraments as the means of grace).

I know you are making the rounds right now on a few different blogs that I also frequent, however in discussions about RCism, you are complicating the issues. May I suggest that if you also believe that the RCC is apostate that you stop contributing to derailing discussions by inserting your COC bias? Certainly, at least when a post is directed at the RCC.

Reginald de Piperno said...

No. Rome's sacramental system views sacraments as magic that works with or without faith. If the act is done, according to them, the grace is conferred.

This turns out not to be the case. A sacrament must be received with the correct disposition as a condition of its right reception. Example #1 is that if a man goes to confession intending to omit certain sins, or unrepentant of sins he does confess, he does not receive forgiveness for anything at all (and actually adds to his guilt instead). And this right disposition is something the man has by grace as well.

EgoMakarios said...

"This turns out not to be the case. A sacrament must be received with the correct disposition as a condition of its right reception." (reginald de p)

I was referring to infant baptism, my friend. Infant baptism clearly is seen as magic that works with or without faith. Whereas in the Bible, Paul says you are raised with Christ in baptism by faith in the operation of God. (Col 2:12)

"May I suggest that if you also believe that the RCC is apostate that you stop contributing to derailing discussions by inserting your COC bias?" (carrie)

Sure you can suggest it, and I might do it. But the real issue here is that both sides of the debate are ignoring Scripture. The Catholics have fake sacraments and they make it as though real sacraments have power apart from faith, so you have a genuine beef with them. however, at the same time, they have a genuine beef with you since you deny any sacrament has been given any power by God. You both need to return to the Scriptural view of sacraments. With baptism, for example, they need to recognize that without faith it does nothing, but you need to recognize that when the recipient has faith then baptism becomes that "in which you are raised with Christ" (Col 2:12) This is no "COC bias"--this is Scripture. Catholicism rejects the faith aspect, and Protestantism rejects the sacramental aspect. A return to Scripture is needed by both. Neither can claim to be following Sola Scriptura, but the "COC" certainly can.

Reginald de Piperno said...

I was referring to infant baptism, my friend.

Then your generalization on that basis to condemn all the Catholic sacraments is invalid, as I have demonstrated with respect to the Sacrament of Reconciliation; and your statements concerning them are fallacious.

Furthermore, your statements concerning the Catholic Sacrament of Baptism as it applies to infants are also inaccurate. As St. Thomas makes clear, the parents, godparents, and even the whole parish community speak on behalf of the infant to be baptized. Additionally, the faith required by baptism is a theological virtue given by the grace of God, and consequently is not restricted to those who are explicitly able to exercise it, and certainly need not be perfect, as is clear in the CCC: "The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop" (1253, but really 1229-1255 is relevant).

The consequence of requiring an explicit personal exercise of faith prior to baptism is to condemn all those (not merely infants) who are unable to do so: the mentally handicapped and mentally ill are two such classes, in addition to infants. I hope that you would not intend this. :-)

EgoMakarios said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EgoMakarios said...

The consequence of requiring an explicit personal exercise of faith prior to baptism is to condemn all those (not merely infants) who are unable to do so: the mentally handicapped and mentally ill are two such classes, in addition to infants. I hope that you would not intend this. :-)

Infants and mentally handicapped people are never condemned because inherited guilt is a Manichean heresy brought over from the half-converted heretic Augustine. Read Chrysostom's homily on John 9 for a Catholic who presents the true doctrine on this subject as found in Ezekiel 18. Not everyone in Catholicism accepts Augustine's heresy of inherited guilt, as the Eastern Orthodox still reject it. And certainly not all non-Catholics accept it either. Basically just Roman Catholics, Calvinists, and very confused Arminians.

Ezek 18:20 "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son."

Augustine doesn't square with Scripture because he accepted the Manichean view of the origin of evil, and adapted it so he could force it into Christianity.

EgoMakarios said...

CCC: "The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop" (1253, but really 1229-1255 is relevant).

Romans 10 says faith comes from hearing the word of God. Infants don't hear the word of God. They don't even understand human language yet. Infants do not have faith in Jesus Christ in any sense. This is why Tertullian (who was in agreement with the Rome of his time) opposes infant baptism with these words:

It is true our Lord says, Forbid them not to come to me. So let them come, when they are growing up, when they are learning, when
they are being taught what they are coming to: let them be made
Christians when they have become competent to know Christ. Why should innocent infancy come with haste to the remission of sins?